Bloomberg: Chinese Spies Infiltrated U.S. Tech Firms with Hacked Supermicro Hardware

A major telecommunications company discovered malicious chips from San Jose-based Supermicro Computer Inc. server about a month-and-a-half ago, according to a new report by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The revelation comes from a source who has now decided to go on the record about claims made in a Bloomberg article last week that Chinese spies managed to access servers owned by dozens of top U.S. tech companies by tampering with hardware.

Bloomberg’s source—security expert Yossi Appleboum, who withheld the name of the telecom firm to avoid violating a non-disclosure agreement—says the implant was built into a server’s Ethernet port, giving Chinese hackers access to the company’s networks.

Appleboum, who was the first to identify the tampering, reportedly provided documents and other evidence to corroborate his claims that the Chinese government hired contractors to install malicious chips in Supermicro motherboards from 2013 to 2015.

Bloomberg’s original article on Chinese tampering was heavily criticized for relying on anonymous sourcing. Amazon and Cupertino’s Apple responded to the investigation with detailed takedowns of the reporting, which shook the public’s faith in the initial story.

Supermicro, whose shares plummeted by 41 percent Oct. 4 after the initial revelations of tampered chips and by 27 percent after the latest report this week, emphatically denies allegations that it sold compromised hardware.

“We still have no knowledge of any unauthorized components and have not been informed by any customer that such components have been found,” the company told Bloomberg. “We are dismayed that Bloomberg would give us only limited information, no documentation and half a day to respond to these new allegations.”

On Monday, Apple execs sent a letter to the House and Senate commerce committees urging lawmakers to pressure Supermicro to brief them about the alleged breach.

Appleboum told Bloomberg that Supermicro isn’t the only victim of Chinese tampering. “Supermicro is a victim,” he told the publication. “So is everyone else.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

5 Comments

  1. Jennifer:

    You are one lucky journalist! The news gods have smiled on you.

    Just about every page one story in the national media has a San Jose/local connection.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-super-micro-china-spy-chip-telecom-20181009-story.html

    “Super Micro Computer, which does business as Supermicro and is based in San Jose, California, . . . .”

    Wow! It’s all happening right here!

    Chinese hacking/spying
    Dianne Feinstein and her Chinese spy driver
    Christine Basely Ford and Palo Alto University and Stanford University
    Stanford University and Google
    Google and In-Q-Tel
    In-Q-Tel and the CIA
    CIA and Palantir
    Palantir and Palo Alto
    Palantir and the CIA
    Stanford and the CIA
    Stanford and the CIA and Google
    Christine Baseley Ford and the CIA
    Christine Basely Ford and Michele Landis Dauber and Stanford Law School
    Stanford and Chelsea Clinton
    Chelsea Clinton and Hillary Clinton
    Hillary Clinton and the DNC and Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS
    Hillary Clinton and Christopher Steele and British Intelligence and the CIA
    CIA and John O Brennan and the deep state and the anti-Trump soft coup
    John O. Brennan and James Comey and media leaks and the New York Times
    James Comey and the New York Times and the Mueller investigation
    etc. etc. etc.

    It’s ALL connected. And it’s ALL local. And San Jose Inside is right in the middle of it! There’s a spy, a conspiracy, or a coup d’etat in just about every coffee shop in the south bay.

    Journalistic opportunity in all directions!

    Life is good!

    • Your right on Bubble we are at the center of the universe, Borge Central Unimac 1 surrounded by drones wanting to take over our collective thoughts. Our brain is your brain, resistance is futile.

      I’m getting the hell out of here!

  2. It seems to me someone or some group is making a killing right now shorting supermicro stock.

    I still have yet to see any concrete evidence besides “anon source told me so”.

  3. Well let’s see, are we going to do anything about it? Probably not. Do you think our elected officials and I’m talking about you Feinstein, will take any action? Probably not. Well her squeaky clean in-house Chinese probably work for minimum wage and send their paychecks back home. So we need not look at them. Feinstein runs such a tight ship she sits on documents until the time is right to release them, then admits (yes you heard it right, admits) them so as to oust one of the best supreme court justices we could produce. She’s 84 or 85 and is the best example for term limits.

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